Tarot & the Four Elements: Fire

tarot element fireJust like Air, Fire is a masculine (yang) element; it is vital, energetic and vigorous. Fire energy is difficult to control, and it can easily destroy everything in its path. Yet when contained, the energy can provide light, warmth, comfort and used to prepare food.

When our ancestors learned how to use fire, it transformed their lives.

In religions, fire is regarded as a great purifier, cleansing sacred space. It is also a symbol of the soul, a metaphor for spirit.

Fire cannot exist without fuel to consume including oxygen. In order to put it out, it needs to be dowsed with water or the air supply needs to be cut off with soil or a wet blanket.

Fire energy is the hot, devouring power of the most intense emotions: anger, lust, love.  Just like a real fire, people with a “fiery” temperament need the element Water in the form of feelings and emotions to calm down and find balance as well as the Element Earth for grounding and stability.

Positive: creativity, enterprise, drive, enthusiasm, passion, determination.

Negative: restlessness, willfulness, pride, reckless behaviour.

Tarot Cards

Major Arcana: The Emperor, Strength, Temperance, The Tower, The Sun, Judgement

Minor Arcana: The Suit of Wands; Kings

In Tarot the element Fire represents growth, inspiration, energy, creativity, self-development and passion. Fire refers to career, work, enterprise and ambition.

Fire Correspondences
Astrological signs Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Atmosphere Hot and dry
Direction South
Moon Full
Season Summer (Spring in Tarot)
Time Noon
Animals Komodo dragon, fire-breathing dragons,  desert-dwelling animals, lion, horses (when their hooves strike sparks), salamander
Chakra Heart
Colour Red, orange, gold, crimson, white (the sun’s noon light)
Plants Sunflowers, basil, fennel, onion, garlic, hibiscus, mustard, nettle, red peppers, red poppies, chillies
Places Deserts, volcanoes, hearth, bonfire
Jungian Function Intuition
Stones/Gems/Crystals Amber, ruby, carnelian, garnet, lava, Bloodstone, Tiger’s Eye, topaz
Spirit The joyful, exuberant Salamander
Tools Censer, wand, candle
Tree Almond in flowe

How to get  in Touch with the Fire Element

  • If you have a fireplace, kindle a fire in the comfort of your home, or make a fire safely outside. If this is not possible, light a candle instead and watch the flames; observe its movements, change of shape and strength. Watch it flicker and flare up, when you add more fuel or the flame is affected by a draught or wind. If you burn a fire in a fireplace, experiment with burning different fuels: coal, wood, paper, some twigs and leaves from the garden. If you burn a candle, add some essential oils, but keep the candle safely on a fireproof surface. Notice the different colours of the flames; orange, yellow, white, blue, sometimes green. What sort of emotions does the fire or the burning candle invoke in you? Energy, passion, anger or a feeling of warmth and cosiness?
  • On a sunny day, sit outside and do some sunbathing. Sunlight is relaxing and after a while you can feel your skin slowly warming up.  But make sure you don’t get burned! After a long winter, sunshine is invigorating and improves our sense of well-being. The heat of the sun gives life in summer an “easy” feel, but tempers and passions can also flare up quite quickly. Note, what impact does sunbathing have on you: do you feel relaxed, enlivened, cheerful or irritated and unnerved? This may well depend on how long you are exposed to the sun.
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The Four Elements in Tarot

In the Western Mystery Traditions, the four primary elements are Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

These basic components have been a core part of occult sciences including Tarot, Astrology, Magick and Alchemy for over two thousand years.

The Greek Philosopher Empedocles of Acragas (495—435 B.C.) developed the theory, that the four elements were the basis for all life on earth, everything in existence. This theory was later endorsed and supported by Aristotle.

Since then scientists and philosophers have studied and investigated the meaning and attributes of the four elements, their influence on our world and interaction with each other.

Gradually, the elements were incorporated into the Tarot.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the Tarot, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the elements, their attributes and correspondences, to  increase your awareness of them around you:

Fire Water Air Earth

the four elements in tarot - Ace of WandsAce of CupsAce of SwordsAce of Pentacles






Images: The Aquatic Tarot, © Andreas Schröter, aquatictarot.de

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